Adorable Asian Bears, Melaka Zoo
Iguana, Melaka Zoo
Melaka a famosa, Malacca.
Singapore buildings, Singapura Singapore
Singapore buildings, Singapura Singapore
Preparing for trekking in Taman Negara with help of guidebooks, I was smiling reading “everything is big about Taman Negara”. Now, I can trust my guidebook with no doubt: giant trees, mutant bushes, even ant five times bigger that normal one, and there are also living big animals, like bears and elephants. Maybe it was good for us, that we did not meet them.
To reach national park (Taman Negara is simply mean national park from Malay language) we took an ordinary bus from KL to small town Jerantut (16,8 ringit, about 3 hours). From there, after 4 hours of waiting, we took a local, kind of city bus, to Kuala Tahan village (7 ringit, 1,5 hours).
We chose Durian Chalets as a place for living, and were right, there we got a simple, but lovely hut with twin beds and attached bathroom for reasonable 25 ringit. The owner were trying to aware as about dangerous fruits, pointing to the huge durian tree full of ripe fruits, dangling just on our roof. So, we had to ensure her, that we not afraid of falling durians, even more, we like durians, and would be happy if they will fall. And only after that, we got the key.
On the next morning, we went to the park, just for a day walk. After paying entrance fee (1 ringit for each and 5 ringit just for the camera, it is not fair I think) we asked the ranger who would he recommend us to spend out day. He gave us a map and pointed a very nice trekking trail: from headquarters to the Canopy Walking (nice local entertainment, tiny boards 5-7 meter from the ground, cost extra 5 ringit), after that passing Bukit Teresek hill (344 meters) finishing on the swimming spot Lubok Simpon. The whole trip is about 6-7 km and it took about 4 hours. Swimming in the river was great, especially after trekking in the hot and humid jungles.
After first day we got some good impression about trekking in Taman Negara – there is no sun in the jungles, the trees are so huge and shade is everywhere. And some very bad – fucking leeches!!! After three days I had 9! bites, one to the hand. I hate them!
On the second day we left all our stuff in the hotel, except tent, sleeping bags, some food and necessaries and took the trail heading to the Kuala Terengan, where we were planning to camp for the night.
From park headquarters there are two ways to Kuala Terengan, one is longer, another is shorter and going along the river bank. Of course we took the second one, and of course we regretted it the end of the day. The trail is passing the springs that falling to the river, and every time the trail is going down and up, like twenty time, of thirty, or even more. It took more than 5 hours for us to finish 10 km trek to Kuala Terengan. But it was a good trek, we saw new and interesting plants, some small animals, like squirrels, monkeys and varans. But the best about trekking in the Taman Negara is the sounds of the jungles, unbelievable sounds.
Kuala Terengan is a kind of resort, but without customers the resort is crushing, literally. The houses are destroying and absorbing by nature. The only people we could find in the resort were a park rangers who are taking care for the place. They showed us where we can camp and treated as a guest, sharing food and stories about the park.
Dima finished his day swimming in the river, as he said it was the best of the whole day 🙂
As they said, they like very much their job, only one thing they are disappointed is they can not watch World Cup. Good for them that on the next day they are going back to the civilization. And they do not know, when new rangers will come, and seems they do not care 🙂
At night it was a rain, a huge tropical rain, we are still wondering how our old tent was able to hold it.
On the next morning we were along in the resort, and we had two options: going back to Kuala Tahan by longer trail by foot, or by boat, if we will be lucky enough.
Decided to let the fate make the choice, we sit on the river for the breakfast. First five boats were full with tourist and passed without any attention to us, The six boat had only boatman and one passenger, both malay man. They quickly agreed to give us a ride to Kuala Tahan, with no mention about the money.
It was a fast and sometimes frightening ride, for 30 minutes we cover the distance that we made for 5 hours!
In the end of the day we were completely satisfied of our trekking in Taman Negara, but I will hate the leeches till the end of my life!
We spent about a week in Malaysia Cameron Highlands – cooling and even freezing. Heading to Taman Negara national park we decided to go via Kuala Lumpur, with overnight stop. Seems that this way will be cheaper, the direct minivan from Tanah Rata to Taman Negara cost 85 ringit per person.
Ordinary bus from Cameron Highlands to KL cost Rm 22,5 per pax. Unfortunately Pudu Raya bus station is on renovation now, and all buses arriving to the Central bus stand (near central stadium), city bus from there to China town cost 2 ringit.
One of my friend recommended us Le Village Guest House as a budget guest house in Kuala Lumpur, now we are appreciated for this recommendation. This place is fricky, but nice and clean, with great facilities, like Wi-fi Internet, kitchen (free coffee and tea all day), laundry service and wonderful relaxing atmosphere.
Having kitchen facility and planning some simple spaghetti for a dinner, we went to a local supermarket to check the prices for food and other necessaries. I can say, that prices for food are very close to Thailands one, something a bit expensive (like Thai imported goods) and something is a bit cheaper (like western goods).
Kuala Lumpur can be called with no doubts as a city of contrasts, kind of cocktail of different nations, religions, times. Here is Chinese eatery and opposite the road is Hindu temple, and 15 meter away someone singing “Allah Akbar”. Here is Muslim woman, covered from head to the feet with black cloth waiting the train on the underground station, and next to her sitting young lady with red hair, piercing and tattoo, dressed in short skirt and sexy top. It is very difficult to find pork or beef in supermarkets or fast food restaurants, but very easy to find a whore of any nationality, size and sex.
Combined with modern infrastructure, skyscrapers, tropical hear and rains and you will get Kuala Lumpur – sweet and sour capital of Malaysia.
From Georgetown to Tanah Rata (Cameron Highlands) we took a tourist minivan for 38 ringit. Probably we could save some money, if we would took a local transport (from Butterworth to Ipoh and from Ipoh to Tanah Rata), but unfortunately we overslept this opportunity (as far as we know the last bus from Ipoh depart at 11:30). We were «lucky» this week was a school holiday and Caneron Highlands are preferable destination for locals.
Cameron Highlands attract visitors cool temperature, tea plantations, jungle walks and strawberry farms. It seem that locals are really crazy about strawberry – fresh berries, ice creams, jams and all kinds of souvenirs — they buying it all in a huge amounts. Local vendors seems to be very happy.
Arrived in Tanah Rata we barely got the last room, all hotels and even cheap guest houses was full with locals and tourists. We got room in the attic in Twin Pines GH for a 20 ringit. Be honest what we got is hardly can be called a room — a mattress on the floor with four walls and small window.
After hot seaside on islands, the cool weather of Cameron Higlands is very pleasant, you want to put warm socks, shawl and sleep till the midday in the warm sleeping bag.
There are plenty numbers of jungle walks around Tanah Rata, from easy half hour trek a-la «forest walking» to the really hard jungle treks with dirt climbing. The real trekkers can stay in a camp site (half hour walk from Tanah Rata by the Path N4). The camp site is really good, with toilet/shower and even electric sockets, but during holidays it occupied by local families with music and BBQ.
Today and tomorrow we will check around for tea plantations and after that will go to Taman Negara national park
We left our paradise island Ko Phangan early morning and were planning to reach Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. The plan was impossible and good for us, we realized it in Hat Yai, near Malaysian border.
Maybe we will go to Penang, for a couple of days? – the idea to have a dinner in indian restaurant and meet friendly chinese guy in 75 Lodge was very pleasant.
We arrived in George Town in the evening, after 9 pm, in summary we spent more then 14 hours for the road from Ko Phangan to Penang island. Our favorite guest house 75 Lodge had a room for us (22 ringit with shared bathroom) and 15 minutes after check-in we were enjoying tasty dinner – tanduri chicken, garlic naan, sweet lassi and masala tea — yes, we love indian cuisine.
George Town have not change for 1, 5 year (last time we visited Penang in 2008). But we had noticed that the number of people and development around the island had increased. In 2008 Georgetown got from UNESCO status of World Heritage site, so I think that is the reason for the future changes.
The couple of days past very quickly, besides standard tourist routes: from indian restaurant to the chinese one, from China town to Little India, we visited Penang`s beaches. So,what can I say — yes, there is the sea and yes, there are few beaches, but I do not liked it all — the atmosphere there is strange for me, and this place is definitely not for backpackers. It is about 1 hour ride from George Town to the beaches (the area called Batu Ferringhi), public bus N101, the ticket cost 2,7 ringit per person.